Maybe I have my head in the sand, but as of this morning I had not devoted one millisecond of thought to the cartoon My Little Pony in about 20 years.
But don’t tell that to a growing group of servicemembers (and, presumably, their spouses) who think My Little Pony is where it’s at. Since a 2010 show remake called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” hit TV, the 1980s franchise has gained a following of people who relate to its message of love, friendship and tolerance. Think of these folks like the people who are really into Star Wars. Or Twilight.
Part of the “Bronie” nation, “Military Bronie” My Little Pony fans are picking up steam, and even attended annual BronieCon conference where they had their own special lunch meet-up, according to this story.
To identify themselves downrange, many MilBronies have self designated special uniform patches like this one, called a “cutie mark,” which we found on their Facebook page:
In response to the recent buzz about these patches, the Pentagon has made it clear that “non-authorized patches” are not OK, according to this story. And in response that, the Military Bronie community has made it clear that they do not consider themselves above the rules or promote the use of unauthorized patches.
From the Bronie site FOB Equestria:
Let’s be real here. Its great that you love the show. It’s great that you enjoy the messages of love and tolerance. It’s great that you are proud of your fandom. But remember, we may be bronies, but we’re members of the armed forces first and foremost. This isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. Watching My Little Pony is just a hobby, and wearing MLP patches is not authorized. It doesn’t matter if this was a harmless convention. This is a uniform violation and you can get in huge trouble for it.
We at FOB Equestria believe that any person wearing their uniform should ensure that they are following the proper uniform regulations set down by their respective branch of service. Not every uniform is the same and not every nation has the same uniform regulations. We encourage you to take another look at your uniform regulation orders so we can avoid a fiasco like this in the future.
But, as servicemembers know, unauthorized patches are not new with the Bronie community, and are often overlooked by commands. For example, these servicemembers sported their own combat knitters patches. And my husband’s unit’s 1st Sgt. issued “God Squad” patches last deployment to a group of Soldiers who regularly attended Bible studies and help prayer services.
Are these patches really that big of a deal? Or are people only getting up in a bind about them because they are a rainbow and called a “cutie mark?”